Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of the joints throughout the body. The most common symptoms include swelling, stiffness, and pain. While it is true that arthritis has the capability of negatively impacting any joint within the body, it is most commonly an issue that directly impacts the knees.
Knee arthritis makes everyday activities extremely difficult. It is also considered to be one of the main causes of lost time at work and the development of disability. In this brief guide, we will outline the main points of arthritis in the knee and provide information on the best treatment for the condition.
What is the Best Exercise for Arthritis in the Knees?
Exercise is a critical component to care for those that suffer from arthritis. The movements involved in the exercises assist in increasing the stability of the joint, flexibility, and strength.
Arthritis is an immobilizing condition – unless you place an emphasis on engaging in regular exercise. The best exercises for knee arthritis include those that increase range of motion, strengthen, and low-impact aerobic exercise.
Why are Low-Impact Exercises the Best for Knee Arthritis?
Low-impact exercises help reduce the amount of stress that is placed on the joints during movements. Despite reducing the stress on the joints, these types of exercises aid in increasing the overall strength and flexibility of the joints of the knee.
Low-impact exercises are typically simple and are usually considered to be a pain-free activity for those that have arthritis in the knees.
Examples of ideal low-impact exercises for knee arthritis include swimming, stationary bicycling, and those physical activities performed in water.
Is Physical Therapy Effective for Knee Arthritis?
Yes, physical therapy is considered the optimal treatment for knee arthritis. This treatment method aids in reducing swelling and stiffness. It is also effective in eliminating pain. When performed properly with a professional physical therapist, it can aid in improving the overall function of the joints of the knees. Those who actively engage in physical therapy for knee arthritis find that it is easier to walk, bend their knees, kneel down, and sit.
How Long are the Physical Therapy Sessions for Knee Arthritis?
If you suffer from knee arthritis, either your doctor or the physical therapist that you work with will explain how long you will need to attend physical therapy. It could be once, twice, or several times a week for a period of a month and a half or longer.
It all depends on the severity of arthritis in which you suffer and how it impacts your day-to-day life.
It also depends on the amount of pain that you experience and whether or not you have had surgery for the condition.
What Exercises Are Included in Physical Therapy Rehabilitation for Knee Arthritis?
When you go through rehabilitation for knee arthritis, the following exercises are those that you will likely engage in:
- Hamstring Stretches
- Calf Stretches
- Straight Leg Raises
- Quad Sets
- Seated Hip Marching
- Pillow Squeezes
- Heel Raises
- Side Leg Raises
- Sit to Stand
- One Leg Balances
- Step Ups
- Low-Impact Exercises
- Water Exercises
Will My Knee Feel Worse After Physical Therapy?
Once you engage in a physical therapy session for knee arthritis, you may find that you feel sore. The pain should never be more than mild discomfort. This is because you are mobilizing the joints of the knee, stretching, and exercising. As you continue moving through the physical therapy, you will find that you experience significantly less soreness.
What Do Physical Therapists Do for Arthritis Knee Pain?
When you meet with the physical therapist, the professional will assess the overall strength of your knee and the mobility associated with the knee. They will also evaluate other areas of the trunk of the body and the lower extremities. This will allow the therapist to determine what areas need treatment. Then, a customized care plan will be created for you by the therapist.
Are There Exercises That Should be Avoided with Knee Arthritis?
Yes, you should avoid exercises that are classified as being “high-impact”. These include those that jar the body. Examples include running and jumping.
You should also avoid exercises that are known to put a lot of stress directly on the knee joints. Examples include deep or low squats and lunges. Not only will these exercises cause a lot of pain, but they also have the potential to cause severe injury to your knees if you suffer from arthritis.
It is essential that you work closely with a physical therapist so that you avoid exercises and movements that will result in further complications to the knees.
Can I Slow the Progression of Arthritis in the Knees?
Arthritis is a condition that cannot be cured; however, there are some steps that may be taken to slow its progression. These include consuming foods that are part of an anti-inflammatory diet, using shoe inserts, engaging in regular, low-impact exercises, and adjusting your daily activities.
Engaging in physical therapy sessions will also aid in reducing the flare-ups associated with knee arthritis.
The customized plan that the therapist develops will be designed to suit your health, your lifestyle, and other unique needs. No two cases of knee arthritis are alike and no two treatments should be exactly alike, either.
Get Your Personalized Knee Arthritis Treatment Plan Today
If you suffer from knee arthritis, we here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy can assist you! Simply sign up for an appointment. Once you arrive, your physical therapist will conduct a complete workup. We will obtain information about your health history, and your current struggles, and will evaluate the knee arthritis that you have. From the information that we gather, we can create a personalized knee arthritis treatment plan.
Not only will you be able to work directly with a therapist to rehabilitate your knee, but you will be taught how to perform some of the activities on your own. We offer a wide range of services and treatments that will help you live comfortably with knee arthritis. Contact us today to learn more: 303-832-5577